Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Will Life Be As Tender Without Irma On Call?

The late Jack Lemmon, the straight arrow rookie flic in one of the red light districts of Paris, asked the bartender why so many couples are going into the Hotel Casanova next door.

“I have a very definite idea. They’re making love,” which the cop, Nestor, denounces as vice.

He earns the retort from Moustache, the bartender, “petit bourgeoisie. It shows the kind of world we live in.

“Love is illegal but not hate. You can do that anytime, anywhere, to anyone.” Lovers must hide in the dark.

Irma La Douce was a hit as a musical on the stage in Paris and London before it was a film smash in the U.S.  Life Magazine called the musical "a French fairy tale for wicked grown-ups who want to believe in love.

"France has always been the artistic and fashionable center of the profession in the West. It also has been common for Frenchmen to have mistresses.

And when the disgraced head of the International Monetary Fund, Daniel Strauss-Kahn, resigned after being accused of raping a New York City hotel maid many prominent French leaders stood up to publicly defend him. 

Although he was able to escape prosecution, opinion quickly turned in France, egged on by American and French bloggers and other feminist leaders.

Combined with a series of alleged rapes and sexual harassment of world-famous politicians, athletes, gays and celebrities, around the world, one could sense too many of these incidents were happening to be mostly inspired by gold-diggers. The FBI of the U.S. has reported for decades that the vast majority of sexual assaults are for real. And most involve people who know each other, not someone jumping out from behind a tree.

An investigation of rape at the Air Force Academy came too late to result in much prosecutorial action, but it made clear the leadership had been mostly ignoring the problem.

But recent scandals in France and elsewhere around the world seem to harden. San Francisco and Canada have supporters for decriminalization.

This week the right and the left in French parliament passed a resolution condemning prostitution. It clearly was going to be met with strong resistance.

But this time, as in Sweden and some other countries, and U.S. states like Colorado, the proposal is to arrest “johns.” As the name implies most of the perpretrators will be males.

Assuming all the technical difficulties of proving money changed hands, it seems about as likely to succeed as Prohibition in the U.S. Most people just don’t care. They may not want to see them standing on street corners but overworked and understaffed police forces won’t make it a priority unless some public scene occurs. Such arrests will have to compete with the cases against political candidates for one.

Whether some of the more recent sex cases, such as Penn State, will make the entire subject sickening is unknown.

Much of the traffic has already moved to the Internet. While they are being pursued aggressively around the world, unless there are underage or slave-like prostitutes the appetite for nailing cyber sex artists also may not have the after-thirst for police agencies as rapes, murders and such.

So there will be the occasional big bust such as occurred in Polk County, Fla., where at least 60 were picked up in a sting.

A crackdown that seems likely on the Web will have to overcome opposition by those who support free speech. The record of law enforcement in the U.S. on abiding strictly by laws that guarantee free speech have a mixed history at the very best.

As far controlling the crime, if it is one, societies have had little success for the thousands of years it has existed. In America, at a certain level it is a violation of privacy.

It wasn’t until 2003 until the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed the remaining laws against sodomy. Clearly it was unlikely where could ever be a conviction without violating the defendants’ privacy.

Would judges be asked to personally review the activity, to determine whether it was legal, as portrayed in a Saturday Night Live skit.

1 comment:

  1. What a silly distraction when the country is facing an economic disaster. Making prostitution illegal simply opens the door to bribery and corruption. They should take a page from Nevada, although those fellas on the streets in Los Vegas advertising for the brothels are a nuisance.